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I’m really into mimimalism and androgyny these days, sometimes in the same outfit. Last year, it was New York street style. It was fashion-forward boho the year before. I’m inspired by so many styles. It’s an unfortunate state of affairs for my closet.

Style is not necessarily inherent. While some people have an eye for these sorts of things, style is learned. This is good news for the fashionably-challenged.

I learned style from Pinterest. I use Pinterest as an aid for my stylist projects. I alternate from Pinterest to fashion magazines to Instagram for fashion inspiration. I have a file of torn fashion mag pages that inspire me from fashion and photography perspectives. I often take screen shots of photos from Instagram for future reference. I have an arsenal of references in addition to YouTube videos and fashion books at my disposal.

Vision and action boards are having a heyday lately. It’s the latest trend in self-help thanks to Pinterest. You can make a physical vision board or opt for the virtual version, but it’s a good exercise for people who gravitate toward visualization in accomplishing their goals.

Many people pin outfits and create boards of ideas. Pinterest was created for recipes, fashion and fandom. The trick is giving inspiration legs and incorporating similar (wearable) looks into your wardrobe.

Here a few tips to making your pinning a reality:

1) Choose what you like, not what will necessary look good on you.

While the fashion industry and fellow bloggers/influencers are embracing body positivity more readily, the truth is most photos use the classic model body type. This can be problematic. Don’t pay attention to the how the model wears the clothes. Focus instead on the prints, the colors and the overall presentation.

There is but one rule: if you like it, pin it.

2) Create separate boards to fulfill separate needs.

There’s an art to categorization. I have seven boards each focusing on a different style aspects — Dress Like A (Lady) Boss (personal board of professional looks), The Fashionista in Me (a catch-all board of mostly artsy looks and trends), Amateur Stylist (things I wouldn’t wear but clients would), Men’s Style (inspiration for male clients), Blog Ideas (this one is obvious), Fashion Week (ideas for fashion shows) and The Frugal Fashionista (for my blog).

I should note that having a board of photos of myself is a bit unnerving.

Your boards should reflect different aesthetics, life stages and tastes. I’m this close to creating minimalism and street style boards. I keep my stylist boards separate from personal boards. My personal boards reflect different aspects of my life and makes it easier to reference at a later date.

3) Imitate not replicate

The goal of a style board is to provide inspiration. If you try to replicate a look exactly, you will spend to much money and waste too much time. Shopping shouldn’t be a huge ordeal. Take the idea and make it your own. Style is personal.

Here’s the point at which I will conduct a walk-through of ideas and implementation through my own style boards.

My style tastes are changing. There is a reason for this. I’m approaching middle age. I recently accepted an administrative position that requires me to interact with other administrators and businesses. The laid-back days of business casual are few and far between, although I did break out jeans the other day.

I’m also reevaluating what is means to be a strong woman. It’s not secret that I view fashion as art and a form of social expression. I think this is why I’m drawn to more androgynous looks, honestly.

Plus, it’s widely known that I’m a blogger and stylist, so I get away with things other people couldn’t. I do my own thing. That’s the narrative I tell myself anyway.

My pins are divided into two categories — inspirational and practical. Practical pins build on existing items in my wardrobe like the pins below.

From there, I find pins that allow me to build on my existing wardrobe with a few new items.

I highly recommend thrifting, swapping, sharing and borrowing whenever possible to avoid going broke. My husband’s side of the closet is not safe at this point.

Notice how I focus on diverse, classic pieces. I take into account my budget and closet space. In the photos below, I own a pair of heels exactly like the pair in the right photo. I also own leather leggings. I can borrow a tie from the hubby.

The jacket is a good idea for her. It’s not my favorite. But I can find a similar printed jacket on consignment.

Again, the goal is not to replicate. You want to create a new style. I really like the photo on the left (below). I don’t own a pinstripe button-down shirt, but I most likely will. It is classic and operates as a neutral. But I don’t have to use this color palette. Truthfully, I’m too curvy for the cut of the trousers. I will have to modify it to match my personal aesthetic and body type.

But the shoes stay. The heels are killer.

My Fashionista in Me board is more aspirational. This board includes casual wear, trends, hair color and cuts, makeup looks and designers’ looks from fashion week (generally couture looks).

While some of the looks aren’t necessarily wearable, the trends will surface in stores soon. I pin what I like and buy similar styles.

The next portion applies to fellow stylists primarily, but everyone else may glean wisdom from it.

There are looks that are pleasing and inspiring but are not for me, like the all that khaki and camel in the photos below. However, those colors are hot were I live. Sometimes I pin with particular people in mind.

And a personal plug for my own board. Follow me!

I most recently started a men’s style board. A third of my following is male.

Hi guys!!!

If you are a follower, you may have noticed a slight shift from women-focused fashion posts to blanketed style tips that apply to anyone. This is by design.

Men are always asking me to style them or write blogs pertaining to their needs. I’m not as up on my men’s style as I should be. I know what looks good, but I don’t always know how to go from point A to point B. This board provides inspiration while helping me to visualize ideas.

If you’re still reading, guys, I could really use models and examples. The hubby is not into the whole modeling thing.

To review, your boards should have a specific focus, build on existing wardrobe essentials, appeal to your tastes and serve as a visual representation of what you would like your style to be.

This post is the first in a series of style basics. My style basics series is for fashion novices or people who want to change their style.

What topics or questions would like me to address? Comment below.

And pretty please follow me on Pinterest.

Happy shopping!